Tennis is back after a brief hiatus and we’re a little anxious.
Let me clarify, I’m a little anxious.
This year’s holiday season saw your correspondent consume far too much alcohol. To make matters worse was the rampant cigarette abuse. As a smoker for sometime I knew about the highs and lows. One smoke one day can be followed by the decimation of a pack the next. This wasn’t that. My mouth was the equivalent of a landfill found near a McDonald’s rendering plant.
I decided to quit. I had to.
Seven days later I’m still going strong, and aside from lashing out at 2-3 people a day for no reason I’m doing well.
My relationship with the Australian Open goes back a long way, with most of my memories consisting of smoking a cigarette at 4 am while watching a quarterfinal.
I won’t have my vice this year, but the excitement is still there. The most wide open major of the year falls in the month of January, where rust is constant and upsets remain bountiful. Read the rest of this entry »
The idea is that it isn’t supposed to look easy. It being winning a grand slam, a task that demands an absurd amount of dedication. Novak Djokovic isn’t Roger Federer. We’re lucky for that.
Andy Murray had righted a wrong. After beating Federer in the semifinals–his first victory against the Swiss Maestro in Grand Slam competition– Murray couldn’t be overlooked. This was a 50/50 final. I boldly (code:drunkenly) claimed the Muzzah would win in four sets. Twitter is the devil.
Tennis players are incredibly open after a match, at least more so than their contemporaries in the ‘other’ sports. Canned cliches from professional athletes are where articles go to die. “At this level, it can come down to just a few points here or there. My biggest chance was at the beginning of the second set; didn’t quite get that. When Novak had his chance in the third, he got his.” Well said, Andy. Read the rest of this entry »
British Eurosport – that’s a Television channel apparently – is where good announcing goes to die. During Monday’s singles match between Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Canada’s Milos Raonic, Virginia Wade battled incompetence while Ross Hutchins struggled to justify his place on the weakest three-person commentary panel ever assembled. However, it was the third man in the booth who attracted the collective rage of Canadians rising early out of bed to watch their countryman perform. It was through the network that the motherland took one last shot at trolling their son, employing Greg Rusedski on their tennis panel as Raonic attempted to achieve the unfathomable.
My anger, while extremely petty, is not directed at them, however. I thought Monday morning would be the start of something huge. The columnists of our esteemed national newspapers would swoop in for a 500-word piece on the monumental feat in Melbourne. How would Rosie Dimanno manage to write a terrible lead while also getting the story terribly wrong? The headline would include a play on ‘while you were sleeping.’ Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
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For eleven months of the year, Melbourne Park is open to anyone. In January, though, the 28 Plexicushion courts that make up this monstrous complex are off limits to the ticketless public. There’s a tournament to be played. From what I’ve been told, Melbourne Park is a wonderful place, combining a raucous party atmosphere with high-level tennis and sweltering heat.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to explore the grounds in person this year. My plan to stowaway in a cargo freighter destined for the Pacific fell through. The folks at the High Commission in Sydney weren’t thrilled with the idea – something about ‘legality’ and ‘diphtheria.’ Ah well. I would’ve missed not going to sleep anyways. The lure of the Australian Open, for me at least, is its ability to destroy one’s life thanks to a schedule that calls on viewers on the east coast to be up from roughly 8:30pm to 7:00am. Try explaining that to your boss/love interest/doctor.
It’s a tough sell, but as I learned last year, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year has an appeal that isn’t easy to overcome. Melbourne 2012 saw Novak Djokovic vanquish Rafael Nadal in a five set marathon, and we witnessed Victoria Azarenka win her first major, quieting complaints regarding her need to feign death after every shot. Grunting: a case for the mute button.
In addition to the guttural sounds of athletes and the crowning of champions, this is what you’ll hear and see over the next fortnight.
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